Coherent creation and annihilation of rotational wave packets in incoherent ensembles
Laser pulses can create rotational wave packets in molecules that periodically revive as field-free aligned distributions. These rotational wave packets can be approximately annihilated by applying another laser pulse during a half revival, an effect corresponding to quantum antiresonance in chaotic kicked rotor studies. We theoretically explore causes of deviation from perfect annihilation. We experimentally demonstrate rotational wave packet annihilation in nitrogen gas, measuring the evolution of alignment by Coulomb explosion imaging. As a test, we apply the pulse pair to an existing rotational wave packet and observe the restoration of the original revival structure after the zero-effect pulse pair.